Today’s post comes from dear brother, Nick Brady. Check out some of his other thoughts here. Thanks, Nick!
This blog post almost didn’t make it to you… all on account of a screaming baby.
And when I say screaming, I mean that the Nazgul probably would have fled from this child’s presence.
For the past few nights, our four-month-old firstborn has been dealing with some kind of sleep regression/progression/whatever word appropriately describes that all of a sudden this baby’s nighttime sleeping isn’t worth the Goodwill onesie he’s wearing.
For those of you who are parents, you understand that baby sleep deprivation also means parent sleep deprivation. Which means that I am writing this post with a subtle headache and a bit of heaviness behind the eyes. And yet, while it seems as though the timing of these events couldn’t have been more inconvenient for 3rdRace.org, I actually believe it’s somewhat providential. That’s because before our little Cyrus ever began these nighttime rampages, this “new birth” blog post had already been conceived in my mind as one about the stresses of a newborn baby’s life in this world.
As always, the Lord is determined to make heavenly realities become our earthly experience. Gotta love that Lord!
So, with the cries of a newborn still ringing in my head, allow me to share a portion of life that I have received…
Firstly, a warning to all future parents: There is a seemingly endless amount of varying opinions out there as to what causes babies to cry and/or makes them colicky.
What’s worse is that there is also a seemingly endless amount of opinions on the best ways to soothe them and help them adjust to life outside the womb (trust me, we’ve tried to exhaust them).
But in spite of the mounds of books and Internet articles on the subject, there is one common thread that runs through some of the most popular, tested, and well-known methods on making your baby the “happiest baby on the block”:
Remind your baby of its life in the womb.
Imagine life in your mother’s womb (even though none of us can actually remember that part of our lives). A place of complete safety and security. A place where we are sustained without any self-effort whatsoever. A place where we grow and develop in complete dependence upon the life of another. A place in which we live, move, and have our being within another (Acts 17:28). A place that is free from all of the cares of this world… where we don’t have to deal with the intimate details of a fallen life, and yet we are still intimately known by God (Psalm 139:13; Galatians 1:15).
When you think about it that way, it almost makes you feel more sorry for the baby coming out of the womb, rather than for the mother who’s pushing him (okay, maybe only the guys are thinking that way ;-). But in all seriousness, I can’t imagine how horrible it would be to live in such a perfect, restful environment and then be so violently thrust into such a fallen, stressful world.
Swaddling babies, putting them in different positions (such as on their side), shushing them (or turning on your vacuum cleaner for them, like we did), and bouncing/rocking them are all some of the common ways that parents can help their babies stop crying and cope with life in this fallen, stressful world. These methods work because they remind the baby of the safety and security of their mother’s womb.
Thus, a “newly birthed” child is comforted by remembering the place of safety and security from which he or she came.
You can probably see where I’m going with this.
Jesus said that a man cannot see or enter into the kingdom of heaven unless he is born again (John 3:3,5). Of course, Nicodemus, being a natural man, could only see what Jesus was saying from a natural perspective, not understanding the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:14); therefore, he assumed Jesus was talking about natural childbirth (John 3:4). But our Lord was thinking on a wholly different plane… he was speaking of being born of the Spirit (3:5-7).
Nevertheless, natural childbirth is not irrelevant to this conversation! For all created things were created by, through, and to Jesus Christ, and were meant to point us to the uncreated, divine life that we have all inherited as children of God (John 1:3; Col. 1:16). Therefore, to those who have been given eyes to see, childbirth reveals to us something of the eternal realm.
When, on that precious day, that you and I first believed in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, then we were made to be included with him on his cross and our old selves became no more. We died with him, and then we were raised with him… born anew, from above, by the Spirit, as children of God. God deposited his Holy Spirit into our spirits, and we were joined together with him. (Gal. 2:20, Rom 6:6-11; John 1:12-13)
But you see, the Spirit of God both IS Christ and dwells WITHIN Christ (1 Cor. 15:45; Gal. 4:6; Luke 3:22). So, when we are born of the Spirit, the womb from which we come forth is Jesus Christ himself! AND since Jesus Christ dwells in the Father, and the Father dwells in him, then our Father is also our womb (John 14:7-11; 23). AND since the new Jerusalem—who is both the bride of Christ and the mother of the sons of God (Rev. 21:2; Gal. 4:26)—dwells in Christ as well, then she is also our womb! Not to mention that all of the heavens and the kingdom of God itself ARE Christ and are IN Christ (Col. 1:19, Eph. 1:8b-10; Luke 17:20-21)!
So, our father, our mother, our King, and our perfect, incorruptible home country all make up the beautiful, glorious, effortless place of safety and security in which every child of God is conceived. What a womb we have in Jesus!
But it gets even better than that! For, unlike human babies born on this earth, those of us who have become children of God never actually depart from our (heavenly) mother’s womb. You and I both, right now, at this very moment, on this earth, are hidden within Christ Jesus himself, completely safe and secure (Col 3:3).
Although God’s children may not ever actually leave the “womb” of the Spirit, we, very much like human babies, start to forget our womb from the moment that we are born. We allow the lies and the cares of this world, our flesh, and the enemy to take hold of us, forgetting the perfect environment from which we came, simply because we can no longer see it except through eyes of faith.
And because we forget, we don’t know how to cope with this stressful life. We kick and scream and cry because we are so uncomfortable, not at rest, not at home.
But this is when we, as children of God, must lay hold of our inheritance and remember our life in the womb: the living Christ that dwells in our innermost being, where we are completely safe and secure!
Thankfully, we don’t have to do this remembering alone. We have other “born from above” brothers and sisters who can remind us of our life in Christ! And while we may not swaddle one another, bounce one another, or play vacuum sounds for one another, we CAN encourage one another (1 Thess. 5:13), exhort one another (Heb. 3:13), love one another (John 13:34), bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), and simply “one another” each other all the way to the throne of God—the womb of heaven—even while we still live on this earth.
Therefore, I encourage you, brethren, as children born of the most high God, to never fully adjust to living in this world (John 17:16; Gal. 6:14; James 4:4). Never allow yourselves to become comfortable on this earth, knowing that one day you will fully return to the womb from whence you came once you shed your present, fallen body.
Turn your gaze inward, heavenward, and allow the vacuum sounds of heaven to engulf your ears and the blankets of the Spirit to constrict your fleshly flailings.
And make sure you remind your brothers and sisters of their heavenly womb!